Sometimes it's nice to make a curry from scratch, blending the spices and all. But sometimes I use a curry paste, either for convenience or to try a slightly new spice variation. Patak's makes some good ones, which are available at Shalimar in Central Sq. This time I tried their balti paste. Here's a recipe for a curry that is very basic and very easy, but quite good. Makes a little more than enough for two.
You'll need all of these:
3 garlic cloves
2 in. piece of ginger
1-2 tomatoes (or 1/2 can chopped tomatoes)
1 tbs. olive or vegetable oil
2 tbs. curry paste
1/4 tsp. chili powder, or more
squeeze of lemon
And some of these:
cauliflower, potatoes, peas, paneer, green beans, carrots, etc.
Dice the onion, mince the garlic and ginger, chop the vegetables and cilantro, and lightly fry the paneer (if using). Sauté the onion for a few minutes in the oil, then add the garlic, ginger, and any hard vegetables you're using (cauliflower, potatoes, carrots, etc.) and cook for a few minutes more, stirring often. Mix the curry paste in 1/2 cup of water and add it to the vegetables, along with the chopped tomatoes and any soft vegetables (green beans, etc.). Simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the hardest vegetables are cooked. Add more water and/or more curry paste depending on how much sauce you want, and how strong you want it to be. (I usually add closer to a cup of water in all.) The paneer, if using, can be added at the simmering stage or near the end; the peas, if using, should be added five minutes before the end. When it's done, add a squeeze of lemon and a sprinkle of cilantro to each serving. Serve with rice and raita.
*A nice combination is cauliflower, peas and paneer (which you can also find at Shalimar). Potatoes diced on the small side, with cauliflower, is also very good. **In the winter, canned tomatoes are often better than the insipid fresh specimens in the produce section.